The Utility of Mexeflote


Davie Shipbuilding gave a presentation at the Canadian Defence Security and Aerospace Exhibition Atlantic in Halifax on 5-7 September. Davie’s presentation featured the new (interim) Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship, Asterix. (http://www.davie.cas/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/DEFSEC-FOR-WEB.pdf). A small easily-overlooked detail was that Asterix is mexeflote-ready.

On September 8, after Hurricane Irma struck the island of Anguilla, RFA ship Mounts Bay used a mexeflote to deliver heavy construction equipment to the beach to assist in the recovery operations. Mounts Bay deployed the mexeflote again on 13 September in the British Virgin Islands to bring a load of building supplies to Road Town. Five days later on 18 September, heavy machinery arrived on the beach aboard a mexeflote at Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos Islands. (Photos of the mexeflote offloading equipment and supplies can be found at http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity.)

In August the Royal Australian Navy used a mexeflote to transfer a 57 tonne M1A1 Abrams tank from HMAS Choules to the beach in Upstart Bay during Exercise Talisman Sabre. This was necessary after it was found the LCMs, from the new LHD ships Canberra and Adelaide did not have the capacity for the heavy tank (http://www.australiandefense.com.au/news/mexeflote-only-for-abrams-as-lcm-trial-suspended). Fortunately HMAS Choules was prepared – in May after weeks of training, the ship’s crew successfully embarked a 42 tonne M777 howitzer, a 62 tonne Abrams tank and a M88 recovery vehicle weighing 63,500 kgs off the beach with their mexeflote! (http://new.navy.gov.au/en/May2017)

Given the load-hauling and beaching capability of a mexeflote, when will Asterix carry a mexeflote? Will (the new) HMCS Protecteur and Preserver be mexeflote-ready? Would a Canadian-crewed mexeflote from Asterix be interoperable with British or Australian mexeflotes?

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